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A bit of France in Petaluma


Sorry I’ve been quiet the past couple of days, but it’s been a whirlwind that started when I woke up Tuesday at 3:00 am to get to the airport to fly to San Francisco for a day of workshops and book signings.  It ended last night when we arrived home about 11:30 and crashed in bed.  I have so much to share about the workshops and the people I met and how it gets me choked up  when my eye catches a huge chalkboard with my name on it and a table full of my paint and products under it.  But I’ll get to all of that another day.

Today, I want to share about the hotel I stayed in.  As we drove into Petaluma, CA from San Francisco, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the rolling green hills, age-old cypress trees and quaint row houses.  I haven’t been to California since I lived in Monterey when I was in preschool.  It was also such a stark contrast of the rugged brown ridges, plateaus, mountains and flat farmlands of Colorado that I just visited a few days ago.

As we took a brief tour through Petaluma, Gen of Gracefully Worn, my hostess, mentioned that we’d be staying in a fun little hotel.  My first thought was that after being awake for 23 hours straight, I could sleep on a street curb and it would be just fine.  My second, more rational thought was, I hope “fun” doesn’t mean banging pipes, a lumpy bed and a youth-hostile-style community bathroom.  Let me tell you, this hotel was fun in the best possible way.  It reminded me of the European style that influenced me so much from my years in Germany as a child.  It was comfortable, clean and delightfully French (with a very comfy bed and a private bathroom with hex tile and a claw foot tub!)
























What also struck me was how my Milk Paint colors were so dominate in the decor of the hotel.  There’s Tricycle and French Enamel and Mustard Seed Yellow and Shutter Gray and Flow Blue and Lucketts Green!  They were all there and looked gorgeous together.  It was pretty neat to see and made me feel good about the colors I developed.  It also was a reminder to me of how much I love European style.  I felt inspired and grounded all at the same time.

In my next post about Petaluma, I’ll share all about the events that brought me there and show you the room we stayed in…


See you tonight for Furniture Feature Friday!

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  1. What a cool and beautiful place!

  2. Looks like a perfect place for a girls weekend getaway! Since I live nearby in the Bay Area…I may just have to make some plans for trip soon!

  3. Carolina says:

    Ohhh… so cute! That Hotel was the perfect place for you to stay….all the vintage items and the beautiful colors! Yes as you remember I am Italian and it totally remind me the European style…I went to France and really you can find place like this little cute Hotel there….I am in CA but a bit far away from the Bay Area or I would have loved to came to meet you….

    Carolina <3

  4. ‘Fun’ is the perfect description! I love the colors – especially the blue.

  5. Anne Boykin says:

    Dear MMS, I knew you’d love Petaluma! I’m from the Bay Area originally and love shopping for antiques in Petaluma. Wish I could have seen you there! Hugs, Anne Boykin

  6. wow! what a lovely place!

  7. Harriett says:

    How perfect for you, Miss Mustard Seed. So much to see and reflect upon, I see a new dresser with the French flag replacing the Union Jack! What is the board with all the circles in the ‘schoolroom’? I will have to review this post again and again. Can’t wait for the bed chambre and duvet :) :) :)


  8. sharon mccullough says:

    How adorable. I just also love love love all the beautiful colors. thanks for sharing. sharon in rural hall north carolina. and Merry Christmas everyone.

  9. I love it! I will definitely stay there next time I am in town. Petaluma is such a nice place for a long weekend.

  10. Marian, I have to laugh seeing your photos. I’ve lived less than five minutes from this hotel for over 10 years and I never stepped foot inside. After your photos, I think I’ll book a room and have a little “staycation” after the new year. By the way, it was such a pleasure to meet you and your husband!

  11. Looks delightful! So fun that you got to go to Cali and also totally cool that your colors are everywhere in that hotel!!!!

  12. Wow, that hotel was made for you! Did they really use your paint or is that just a coincidence? I have fourteen of those bentwood cafe chairs. Mine are Thonet from NYC and Poland. They are the only non-English looking things in my house. Can you find a way to DIY that yellow post card rack? I Love It. How does it feel to be famous now? Enjoy the ride. Ann

  13. That was so beautiful; what an amazing hotel!!! Gorgeous photos.

  14. Marian I am so glad I went with my gut on this. I wasn’t sure as many I had asked had mixed reviews about it. But the moment we walked in the door I knew it was the perfect choice! So happy the bed was comfy too!!! You needed it! Thank you for the beautiful pictures we will be recommending it from now on! T
    hank you again for an amazing experience here in our little town of Petaluma you are a true joy and inspiring beyond belief.

  15. Denise T says:

    I would book this reservation whenever I am in this lovely town.

  16. What a cool place Marian! Great photos too! I just purchased your book from our local small town book store! Just started reading it today.I will read more while my daughter is in her dance class.I am enjoying it as I feel you are speaking to me as I read it! Great photos too!

  17. Marty Smith Cotton says:

    My gosh-were you in your element there or WHAT! That place is So you!

  18. Totally amazing! I could lose myself there, I think…

  19. Wow. What a jolt of color and texture to awaken the senses! These pictures are great… even the quirky shot of the chandelier!

  20. Trish says:

    What a cool place. You must be overwhelmed with joy on all your sucsess. I am so happy for you!

  21. Oh! I wish I could have made it!! We used to live just North of Petaluma and are now near Sacramento – (and my parents live in Salinas near Monterey!!!) Petaluma has LOTS of great antique shops!!
    Glad you had a sweet time here in California..: )

  22. Tawny says:

    My heart beat a little faster with each photograph. Oh my. I’ve never been to CA but I know where I’m going if I ever do get the opportunity. Looks like the next best thing to being in Europe! I’m so happy for you. I can hardly wait for the rest of the photos. Thanks so much for sharing, and adding one more thing to my bucket list!

  23. I LOVE Petaluma, lived there for 10 years and still miss it everyday! I hope you enjoyed your time there, it is a very special place!

  24. That looks like such an adorable place! I love the whimsy in all the decor. Very inspiring!

  25. love, love, love, love, love, love IT!!!

  26. asha c. says:

    I grew up in Petaluma, and have seen that hotel many a times. So quaint. Love it. Friends stayed there a few months ago when we had a family wedding. They loved it as well. Glad you loved it there in cozy Petaluma.

  27. oh marian. these are dreamy shots. thank you for taking us with you.

    smiles to you.


  28. Lonna Berridge says:

    Hi Marian,
    I live in Indiana, but last week we happened to be visiting our daughter who is a veterinarian at UC Davis in CA. We were driving to Bodega Bay (where “The Birds” by Hitchcock was filmed) and we drove through Petaluma right after reading your post telling that you would be there. I couldn’t remember the name of the shop- but kept my eyes open for a marquee with your name on it! What a coincidence!
    Thanks for all you share,

  29. Adorable, Marian!!!!
    What a pleasant surprise for you, instead of curb or lumpy bed, LOL!
    Thank you for sharing!!

  30. I’m so happy for you. You visit the most interesting places!

  31. Too funny. I stayed there for my birthday this year. We didn’t have reservations. We went to a restaurant and they suggested we give them a try. I, of course, feel in love. I wish I knew how to attach a photo to this message. I have great pics of the outside and my room. I am so glad you got to stay in such a lovely place for your visit to California.

  32. I live 25 minutes from Petaluma & I wish I would have known you were in town. I just know we would be instant besties girl! I hope you got to eat some of the amazing food.

  33. Marlene Harms says:

    Dear Marian it was so great to meet you. You are a very nice person.Thanks for taking a picture with me.Your ideas and work really tell that you enjoy your work so much.Love your website and the words you write. You have such agreat sense of humor. It was so such a great time and experience. Love that you share so much with others.
    Again thanks so much and have a wonderful New Year 2013

  34. Laura hewitt says:

    Gorgeous place.

  35. Arleen Brown says:

    I worked at Petaluma Hospital (in the old one up on the hill and the new one when we moved down across the river). Still have best friends living there. So glad you liked the area.

  36. We stayed at this hotel 4 years ago in July – a very hot July even for California. At that time they didn’t have air conditioning, and being from Washington, well, I thought I would die from the heat. The hotel is a visual treat, but if you plan to stay there in warmer weather, check about the air conditioning first! Do they still have the trailer parked along side the hotel?


  1. […] Gen and her husband took me and my husband out for a delicious dinner at a local joint and then I crashed at our hotel.  (You can read my post about the hotel HERE.) […]

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